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How do I know if a source is popular?
Articles published in magazines and newspapers are written for a general audience. Sometimes library databases will include articles from both scholarly sources( e.g. scholarly journal articles) and popular sources (e.g. magazine and newspaper articles), so you need to be able to differentiate between the two.
General characteristics of popular sources include:
When/Why do I use a popular source?
When you need to understand a complex topic.
Popular articles contain summaries and popular representations of research, making it accessible to a non-specialized audience.
When you need information on a current event.
Newspapers and magazines provide current event awareness and general interest information geared towards a non-expert audience.
When you need information specific to a locale.
Newspapers provide local information for the geographic areas with which they are associated.
When you need get a sense of opinions on an issue.
Newspapers and magazines include opinion articles and editorials, providing a window into the way people perceive and interpret events
Explore the image below -- mouseover the targets to learn more about the anatomy of a popular article. This example uses a magazine article, but the elements discussed also apply to websites, newspapers, and some books.
Mower, Sarah. "View: Sustainable Style—Shopping Consciously: Attention, Shoppers." Vogue. May 01 2007: 121,121, 122, 124. The Vogue Archive. 30 Jan. 2013 .